Wir haben ja bereits auf das kommende Buch von Marianne Dissard mit dem Titel “Not Me” hingewiesen. Nun hat uns Marianne einen Blick in das Buch gewährt und uns liebenswürdigerweise erlaubt, vorab Auszüge daraus zu veröffentlichen. Wie ebenfalls schon erwähnt, hat Marianne eine Crowdfunding-Kampagne gestartet, um die Veröffentlichung ihres Buches zu finanzieren.
“Not me” erzählt die Geschichte Marianne Dissards mit ihrer Bulimie-Erkrankung. In teils drastischen Bildern schildert sie ihr viele Jahre währendes Leben damit. Hier ein paar Ausschnitte aus dem voraussichtlich heuer im Juni erscheinenden Buches.
In ihrer Ehrlichkeit, Unverblümtheit und Offenheit ähnelt Dissards Sprache durchaus der des amerikanischen, ehemaligen Underground-Schriftstellers Charles Bukowski . Allerdings mit dem Unterschied, dass dessen Texte meist von Sex und Alkoholismus handelten und oftmals schockieren sollten. Marianne Dissards Texte sind zarter, nachdenklicher und berührender. Sie fesseln und, vor allem, sie ermöglichen einen tiefen Blick in ihr Seelenleben.
Wir haben auf eine Übersetzung der Auszüge verzichtet, da dabei zu viel von Mariannes starker und bildhafter Sprache verloren ginge. Man kann notfalls über den Link am Seitenende zu Google-Translate wechseln.
Leaning into the mirror, I look for my face. It’s all part of the ritual. I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for confirmation from downturned lips that I’m less than shit. The sour pucker snicker that, really, I’m such a terrible choice for a human being and that, really, I’m not worthy of living. Not this life, not my life.
Think. You gotta cancel the show in Phoenix tomorrow. Must. You have to get out of it somehow. You must find an excuse. Say your Cadillac broke down, the old beast, stuck on an off-ramp in Eloy overnight. You’ve never cancelled a show before. Not this girl. But heed this blindness! It’s a good enough reason to cancel. Right now, you can’t even stand up straight. So?
What if you did it anyway, what if you crawled onto that stage and sang your heart out like the butt-ugly blobfish that you are? Oh, wouldn’t that be something? A blistering and unequivocal fuck you to bad luck. Ah, but my voice? Glazed by juices more acrid than turned wine, what sounds would this throat make, words boiled unintelligible from raspy syllables, a wheezing flow of tepid weakness disguised as demure coquetry. It doesn’t fucking matter. You sing in French. They’re Americans. Make sounds, any sounds. It all sounds the same, exotic and sexy, Parisian. Still, wouldn’t someone notice you’d gone awry? They know you, some of them, and some of it. And the photos? You sure don’t look like your press shots anymore. You look simply ravaged.
My yoga graduation? For the first time in my life, I’m in step with my class. I’m graduating with everyone else. It’s a big deal, the first time I have stuck around to receive a diploma. It didn’t happen with high school in France—I left for America, or in the States – I never bothered completing my university film degree. What’s the point of a piece of paper when, already, the streets are your studio, your playground.
Marriage, graduation, anniversaires and night cream. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for any of it. Always out of step, one stop removed, voluntarily or involuntarily segregated, I must have liked doing things my way. Did I ever get caught caring?
So today in Paris, I want my yoga class photo and I want to rejoice. This moment is mine.
In the courtyard over Tupperware lunches, plans are being made with my fellow yoginis to keep in touch beyond the final afternoon of class. See, I’ve gotten used to these people, my every-day floor mates and I want to let them know I appreciated the company. Maybe we’ll all make friends for life. We are a community, right? Yoga matters to us, maybe we can discuss it for a change and, over petit-fours, ask of ourselves, what did we get out of it? Did it change our lives? Are we better people? As I pass the dark chocolate tablet around, I speak up with the offer to host a cocktail party at my apartment. Yes, they’ll all be there. What a wonderful idea.
The morning of my cocktail initiative, our get-together, I am up early to bake and cook. Making food, but what food? What do my yoga mates like to eat?
All month long at the training, I noticed lunches of rice and tofu, cheese sandwiches, and petit sablé washed down with green tea—Kombucha for the most up-to-date ones.
I’ll make my party favorite, the vegan potato salad with dill, and quiches and cakes, maybe even bake some chocolate chip cookies.
I stock up on juices and chêvre, baguettes and spreads. I must have shopped for fifty. Tidied up the apartment too. The place looks clean and inviting, and even smells pretty good. I brushed Cat. She now inspects the kitchen as I get down to spreading fun tidbits on many good crackers, to uncorking sweet wines and to layering nibbles of complementary colors that swirl in the nice bowls I found, neglected, in the cabinetry. Only thing missing are red balloons and party favors.
Four o’clock, all is set for the arrival of my yoga buddies. I’m sitting on the balcony, brushing and combing Cat again, and waiting for my friends. It’s a really nice June day. Cat tires of my yanking at her fur. She goes in the kitchen and eyes the wieners. I water the plants. We wait and wait, and we wait all afternoon.
By dusk, I give up.
No one, no one showed up. Zero. Not a single person from the studio. Not one text message to say ‘we’re late, we’ll be there’ or simply, ‘sorry to miss the fun’. I am in the kitchen, surrounded by more food than I can fit back in the fridge. What was I thinking? What did I do wrong? Cakes first. Paris, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not into you. Cookies next. I don’t care that no one came. I won’t share. My food. Crackers. Dips. Chips. I speed-chew through the feast—my food. I made it. I own it. Swallow all. I don’t care. That. No one came.
My heart, so far, has held up.
I take a break again, stand up and, grabbing the towel that’s been set there for that purpose, wipe the edges of the bowl and remove all splashes from the wall.
When I binge, there always comes a time for my wafer-thin mint. It is the last little morsel I can swallow and I never know which it will be. Could be salty or sweet, a cracker or a pea. At that point, before potentially catastrophic gastric rupture, I barrel out of the kitchen to bend over the toilet bowl and, in that moment, remember something one of my teachers once told me in class. “You’re very flexible,” he’d said. “Resist going there, where it’s easy. Work to pull away from the ground.” So I unbend a bit from a near perfect fold-over and use the muscle power in my legs and core to gain better access and control of my stomach muscles, some of the very same muscles that I use during yoga breathing exercises and digestion-enhancing twists. Not unlike Mr. Creosote, I can’t resist eating the wafer-thin mint. When the check comes due, however, I look the other way.
Tonight, my hopes are slight and my dreams modest. Please, let me fall asleep fast, and sleep without waking, and in the morning, let me be hungry and not look too beat and blue for class. I have students now.
Sivasana, the resting pose.
Also called the corpse pose.
She is lying on her mat, arms tight alongside her skinny body. Two little mounds, the hipbones, are poking through her sweatpants. The cheeks are hollow and the eyes sunk deep into their sockets of blue and black flesh.
One more minute and I’ll rise the class up from corpse, get everyone out of the door and go home. I could use a coffee and some lunch. I look at the girl again, still as a dead body on her mat. I know her trouble. Should I talk to her after class? What could I say? Should I do something? And how? This ain’t pretty. If she breathes, nothing moves, not a ripple. I wonder what is coursing through her veins at this time. Can’t be glucose. She doesn’t strike me as a cookie monster, by far. More like a cookie-hater. Might be she lives off eating angel dust of the sort ground from paper wings.
I wish I could talk to her and tell her she’s got the spelling all wrong. It’s not A N O R E X I A. It’s a four-letter word and it’s spelled H E L L. Tell her that she doesn’t even realize how bad she’s got it now and that she’s one breath away from failure of the heart.
I’m failing her if I don’t speak out. No. I can’t say anything to her. I shouldn’t. What could I tell her that she’d be able to hear? I know she sees me—and us all—as monsters, fat monsters, repulsive and alien, we of average weight and normal appetites. Should I slap her then? Hit her? Maybe I could just yell at her, spook her? I’m afraid she might collapse, though. She’s not twenty, although her looks might be deceiving. She seems older but I could be wrong. She has no age. I can’t teach someone like her. Yes, I will slap her. And yell.
I do nothing of the sort. Instead, during class, I place the palm of my hand gently on her lower back and softly say to her, “Breathe in. Now, out.” In. Out. A human touch is priceless in cases like hers. She is trying, I can tell. I know she is listening but I know it’s not reaching her, like a shiny new red engine without a key. Whatever she does with her body at this second, whatever she does with herself is not reaching her. She’s lost consciousness. No, I don’t mean she’s knocked unconscious on the mat. On the contrary, she is paying a lot of attention to the class, like a good and dutiful little student. In other words, she’s got a one-track mind and a thin-as-a-rail body and the two don’t talk. Freaking anorexic. Wake the fuck up. That shit ain’t funny long. Please, do something!